I had not heard of the concept of alone time until I reached mid-20’s. Being single that time, it was practically difficult for me to understand that we need to spend sometime in isolation. I was mostly scared of being alone, so I did not really find time to practice it.
Then I gave birth to my first child Kasandra. When my daughter was born, everything seemed to change. When before, it was always too easy to go wherever and whenever; having a child turned my life upside down. I had to stay home, tend to her, watch over her, feed her, and all the gazillion of things I ought to do with her. I was with her all the time! The only time I could be alone was when I needed to go to the bathroom. This went on and became more intense (at least, to me) when my second daughter came.
When I went back to work, I would get very busy and when it’s time to go home, another task awaits; namely, children. I would go home tired but it’s always a curious case that when I see my children smile, all the weariness disappears. I have talked with other parents and they say the same. Thank heavens! Each time I have that kind of experience, it would become clear in my thoughts that our children are heaven-sent!
But as I keep on with day to day grind, deadlines, arguments, petty dramas, bills, plus the children, I did not notice that I was slowly getting burned out. When I started asking friends about such experience, I felt relieved to find out that almost, if not all, have experienced getting burned out too. So I encountered the ‘alone time’ concept again through the many mothers I have talked with, this time, with better understanding.
My sister Jonna told me that when she notices herself easily getting irritated with her children, then she takes it as a sign that she needs time to be alone. Alone time does not need to be very long, it could be as short as a coffee break or a power nap. It could be a 20-30 minute quiet time or meditation.
Allowing the burn out feeling to stay and not do anything about it won’t help. In my experience and taking in the accounts of many busy individuals, not having time alone turns us into yellers instead of parents, or whiners instead of proactive teammates. Practicing alone time each day and just taking time to breathe and think of all the little joys in life makes a huge difference. Some get their alone time through a retreat or a solo flight, others simply relish their alone time by taking a pause and just stop doing anything.
Whatever the strategy is, if it works, then go do it. The important thing is that we do not neglect ourselves while taking care of others. After all, it is when we experience care and love that we can do the same to the people who matter to us, most especially, our loved ones.
Joan Mae Soco-Bantayan is a teacher at Tuburan Institute, Inc. She is also a wife and a mother of two. For questions and comments, feel free to drop her an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her Facebook page, Joan Mae Soco.
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